Southend boy, 16, banned from social media for 'sexual' messages to young girls

Social media ban - A Southend 16-year-old was contacting young girls <i>(Image: Unsplash)</i>
Social media ban - A Southend 16-year-old was contacting young girls (Image: Unsplash)

A BOY has been banned from social media and owning an iPhone after pursuing 'sexual' relationships with girls as young as 12.

Essex Police's secured a Sexual Risk Order against the 16-year-old from Southend who had been flagged as a "potential perpetrator of sexual abuse," police said.

Sgt Ben Rushmere said: “This boy proved on multiple occasions that he could not comply with bail conditions and continued to show a lack of regard for his actions."

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The boy used social media platforms including Snapchat to form relationships with girls as young as 12 across Essex and engage in sexual activity.

“The team were unable to seek a charge at this stage so we looked at other ways we could ensure this boy couldn’t come into contact with young girls whilst the investigation continues," Sgt Rushmore continued.

"An emergency interim Sexual Risk Order was approved by the courts meaning he cannot be unsupervised with anyone under the age of 18.

“He also cannot own an iphone or download any social media platform without informing the police first."

The boy will be regularly monitored by police to ensure he is complying with the conditions.

This case isn’t an isolated occurrence, Essex Police says.

The force's Child Sexual Exploitation proactive team (CSE) have managed 226 investigations since it was formed in July of 2022 and almost 40 per cent of these have resulted in what police call a "positive outcome".

Sgt Rushmere added: “We appreciate that parents and guardians may be concerned about who their children are talking to online. Snapchat does have a ghost mode function, allowing adults to monitor messages and photo which are sent on the platform."

The CSE team deals referrals where conventional safeguarding tactics have been previously unsuccessful.

They work the most complex and difficult criminal investigations involving the sexual exploitation of children.

Offenders can be individuals or organised groups, they could be using fake profiles to groom young people online, or befriending them and giving them money or alcohol.

Officers work with partners to ensure there are bespoke care plans for victims which mean they don’t have to speak to police if they don’t want to, but mean they are given proper support, assistance and guidance by trained professionals from children’s charities.